The First Time Assurance on Sustainability Reports and Risk Premiums
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
The economic utility of sustainability has been a recent domain under scrutiny by several academicians. More specifically, researchers have investigated the positive effects of sustainability reporting on firms from different angles. One of these angles is sustainability’s effect on firms’ prestige in the market, which is inevitably connected to market indicators, such as, risks and returns. Consequently, this research paper is positioned as a complement to previous researchers’ work within the field of sustainability reporting and its positive effects on firms. This paper’s foremost aspiration is to fill a knowledge gap in research by finding empirical evidence whether the first time assurance on sustainability reports causes a lower subsequent cost of equity capital. For this matter, the researchers’ methodology was deductive in nature, which relied on investigating established theories that are connected to the two dimensions of the research question; cost of equity capital and assurance on sustainability reports. This investigation formed the researchers’ theoretical schemata upon which they both neglected certain theories in favour of others and formed a verifiable theoretical research hypothesis. In this research, Sweden, a country known for its dedication for sustainability, was chosen as a market from which a sample was collected. The researchers conducted their study in a panel format where the same information about 44 different companies was collected on several years. Due to the fact that the number of listed firms that had been reporting their sustainability reports was quite moderate, a census study was convenient and applicable. The researchers ended up with a sample of 44 firms that constituted 352 observations, which formed the basis for the statistical inference. The empirical study employed several regression models of panels to reach the most representative model that fitted the data in hand. Also, to guarantee higher quality results the fitted model, the Two- way Error Component Fixed-effects Model, was tested for heteroskedasticity, cross- sectional correlation, autocorrelation and non-stationarity. This model revealed a relatively low explanatory power that drove the researchers to interpret their statistical findings with great caution. At a specific level of statistical significance, the regression model revealed a significant correlation between assurance on sustainability reports and a subsequent lower cost of equity capital. This result was refuted at higher levels of significance. Thus, the researchers were able to answer the research question affirmatively, to a certain extent, and to demonstrate that the research’s results verify the underpinnings of neo-institutional and signalling theories.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 114 p.
Sustainability, Assurance, Cost of Equity, Reporting, Risk, Environment, Sweden.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-114730OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-114730DiVA: diva2:898066
Master's Programme in Accounting
2015-12-11, Umeå University - USBE, Umeå, 11:53 (English)
Svanström, TobiasNordvall, Anna-Carin